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History of Innovation

A History of Innovation

In 1983, Janet Sainer, then the Commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA), identified a serious, and unaddressed problem: many of the city’s most vulnerable older adults were going without meals on the weekend. The solution came in the first iteration of the home delivered meals, Meals on Wheels, which has grown and evolved over time into a national model, locally led to the standalone CityMeals–On-Wheels.

To support the initial Meals on Wheels effort, DFTA founded the Fund for Aging Services, which later became the Aging in New York Fund. ANYF continues to serve as the charitable arm of DFTA. It assists the agency with creative programming, grant development and private fund raising efforts, and fiscal oversight of grant funded projects. It also serves as an incubator for new models of service delivery that when successful, become part of DFTA’s ongoing programs, or are spun off to other organizations.

Since its inception, ANYF has helped to launch or support several innovative programs, including:

  • The Partnership for Eldercare, in which corporations contracted with ANYF to deliver expert counseling and caregiving advice about elderly family members to the company’s employees.
  • The Grandparent Resource Center, still in operation, which was established to assist older adults who are raising grandchildren. [link to programs page since this is a current program]
  • Alzheimer’s disease programs that provide counseling and referrals to families of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as an annual Mayoral Conference on Alzheimer’s disease
  • Bridging the Gap, an intergenerational program that focused on bilingual students in middle school to introduce them to career opportunities in older adult health care and related fields and that received the 2011 President’s Service Award.
  • It’s My Money!, a financial literacy program designed to educate older adults how to better manage their finances and avoid falling victim to scams and financial abuse.
  • Age in Action, a large, outdoor gathering that provided 10,000 older adults from all five boroughs with an array of healthful activities, exercise and competitions, nutritious food, and multi-ethnic entertainment.
  • The Senior Stroll, a one-mile walking challenge.
  • TimeBanksNYC, a service exchange network launched in 2010 to provide support and services among members by using time instead of money as currency.

Read about our current programs.

If you’d like details about any of ANYF’s prior programs, please email us at:

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the Aging in New York Fund different from the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA)?

The Aging in New York Fund is the non-profit arm of DFTA. As such, we are able to serve as an incubator of new, innovative ideas for initiatives that the city is not able to address due to financial or organizational constraints.

How does the Aging in New York Fund set its organizational priorities?

ANYF has a separate board of directors that develops our strategic priorities. These priorities, which are in line with DFTA’s mission, are reevaluated every three years to ensure that they address the issues most relevant and important to maintaining the well-being of New York City’s older adults.

How does the Aging in New York Fund partnership help DFTA?

ANYF is an independent 501(c)(3). One of our primary roles is to support DFTA by raising funds to develop and implement programs that directly impact the lives of older adults in New York City.

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